Tuesday, July 20, 2010
When I asked Christopher what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he responded with "something with chocolate and peanut butter". Well- first, he had to play the whole "oh you don't have to do that" game, over and over again, until it got to the point of my shouting "JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT!", in my hormonally crazy don't-mess-around-with-THIS-pregnant-lady voice. And then... he told me he wanted something with chocolate and peanut butter.
In all fairness, he didn't want me to overdo it. And I love him for that.
Pfffft. Like I'd overdo it.
That doesn't sound like me at all...
Ok, ok! Maybe I got a little carried away, but- really, birthdays are a big deal. Especially as we get older. The higher our digits go, the less presents we get, the fewer cards come in the mail- it can be downright depressing.
I just wanted to put as much effort into his cake, as I physically could.
Now, being 36 weeks pregnant, this was an all day task for me. I spread it out over the course of two days, and probably spent a total of about 3 hours in the kitchen. Whats 3 hours in a kitchen, to please the love of my life?
Exactly. I was more than happy to do it.
Look at that. Those peanuts, that chocolate- just look at it.
Oh, whats that? You can't see the crumbly peanut topping well enough? You need a close up?
...shall we dig in?
First of all, I can't take full credit for this recipe. I got my inspiration in the middle of a google image search for "layered chocolate peanut butter cake", which lead me to this recipe here. Well that recipe wasn't gluten free, and it wasn't dairy free, but it was a start.
At first glance, it looked way too complicated. I thought surely I'd be slaving away, dripping with sweat, overwhelmed and exhausted- but the more I thought about it, the easier it seemed.
-Start with a layer of chocolate cake. In my case, I'd do a brownie base.
-Add the crispy layer. Great, I'll pick up some gluten free rice crispys at the health food store when I go next.
-And then chocolate mousse. No problem, I'll do a mock mousse using tofu.
-And then peanut butter mousse.
-A ganache... who can't melt chocolate in a pan?
-Some finely ground peanut crumbs to top it off.
...well when you say it like that, it sounds like a piece of cake right? HAHAHA...
*I've been having annoying braxton hicks contractions all morning, I'm allowed a little insanity and evil laughter every now and again*
You will need a spring form, to put this heavenly cake together in. Ya know, the things you make cheesecakes with? One of those :) And don't forget to grease it!
-The first layer of this cake, is a chocolate cake/brownie base. I used this recipe from Living Without Magazine. In the picture, it looks thin. In real life, its not. Its tall and fluffy. I've made this crust twice now. Once for a pumpkin cheesecake, and then again for this here birthday masterpiece. To make this crust vegan, swap out egg replacer (we use flax meal in our house), for the 2 large eggs. After your brownie layer is baked in your spring form, put it in the fridge or freezer to cool.
-The second layer of this cake, is a crispy, crunchy, combo of peanut butter-chocolate-rice crispys. For this, I combined 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Baker's brand are gf and vegan), with one unsweetened chocolate baking square, with 3/4 cup peanut butter- and melted it. Once it was melted, I stirred in 2 cups of rice crispys (Erewhon brand has a gf/vegan option available) and then voila- that layer was finished. Pour it on top of your finished brownie layer. Put back into fridge/freezer to cool.
-For the third layer, you'll make a chocolate mousse. 1 package of firm tofu + 1 package of melted semi sweet chocolate chips + 1 tsp vanilla. Combine in a blender until smooth. And you've got mousse! Pour on top of crunch layer, and put back into the fridge to set.
-For the 4th layer of this cake, you'll be making a peanut butter mousse. This is very similar to the chocolate mousse that you just made. I didn't even wash the blender, I just rinsed it out. 1 package firm tofu + 1 cup peanut butter + 1 cup powdered sugar + 1 tsp vanilla + 1/4 cup soy milk. Blend. Pour. Let set.
-For the 5th layer, and you'll want to do this one after your other layers have completely chilled- you'll be making a chocolate ganache sauce. To do this, all I did was pour about half a package of semi sweet chocolate chips into a sauce pan, along with about 1/4 cup soy creamer, melt melt melt, stir stir stir- and done.
To pour this ganache sauce over the top of your cake though, you will have needed to remove the cake from the spring form. Transfer it to a plate, or cake holder (I can't think of the fancy term right now). I used the lid to my largest tupperware bowl, hoping that the bowl (now turned dome) would be large enough to cover the cake. And after a few slices had been removed, it was.
So, move cake from spring form (carefully, seriously- don't ruin all of your hard work!), and then when you're ready, pour your ganache (after letting it cool slightly) directly onto the center of your cake. Take a spoon, and spread it around, allowing it to drip over the edges.
-For the 6th, and final layer of this cake, you'll need to grind up some peanuts in your blender, or just grab them straight out of the jar. Sprinkle them all over the top, before the ganache dries.
Put your cake in the fridge to cool.
YOU ARE DONE!
After your cake cools and you've cut into it, sit back, and soak up the "mmmm's" that mumble out of the full mouths of all of those who are lucky enough to enjoy it...
If you're making this for a birthday, make sure that you give the Birthday Boy the first bite...
And then watch him devour it!
Gosh he is a devilishly handsome man.
Raise your hand if you liked it!!
Or, maybe just lick your fingers.
So thats that, folks. My out of this world 6 layer gluten free vegan peanut butter chocolate birthday cake.
And trust me when I say, that that was the last creation that I'll putting any amount of hovering-in-the-kitchen-for-hours effort into, until well after this baby is born. And that probably also goes for long blog posts. And sitting in uncomfortable wooden chairs. And doing anything, really. I've got one week until I'm considered full term, and 3 weeks until my scheduled c-section.
I, am, beat.
But all for a great cause.